Tech Could Help Prevent Problem Gambling, Says CEO of Sky Bet

The CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming has said that technology should be used by the gambling industry to protect people from spending more than they can afford.

Ian Proctor, CEO of the British-based gambling company, was speaking in an interview when he made his remarks.

More Needs to Be Done

In a report from The Yorkshire Post, Proctor stated that the gambling sector was duty-bound to protect those of its customers who are at risk of developing a problem.

Proctor said: “Responsible gambling is important to me. It’s an emotive topic at the moment… We (the industry as a whole) have not done ourselves any favours. A few years ago, everybody who worked in the industry would have considered that it was up to the customer as an adult to make choices.”

He added, however, that times have changed and that the issue goes beyond problem gambling. Now, it’s a case of making sure that customers don’t spend more than they can afford. In his opinion, he believes that the use of technology can prevent gambling from becoming an issue. This includes looking at customers’ data to understand their spending habits.

The use of an account that details a customer’s daily, weekly, or monthly profit or loss could also be aided through technology, Proctor claimed. This way users have a clear idea of what they are getting themselves into. If they have their gambling losses in front of them, that might drive the need to have a cooling-off period.

Of course, the use of technology is easier said than done. Users would have to agree to have their data analysed. However, considering that most people agree to the requirements phone apps ask before they can be downloaded this may not be a hard ask.

It’s clear, though, that more needs to be done to prevent gamblers from falling down a slippery slope that could see them spending more than they had bargained for.

This isn’t the first time that a figure from the gambling world has spoken out against the industry.

In August, Stewart Kenny, co-founder of Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker company based in Dublin, said there needed to be a radical change in the industry to stop “normalising” gambling advertising to young children.

At the time, he said: “I don’t think any parent in the country really appreciates being bombarded with the amount of gambling advertising. I don’t even think it’s in the interests of the betting industry because I think it’s alienating them from all the parents in the country.”

His remarks were in stark contrast with those of Peter Jackson, the company’s CEO, who claimed that banning gambling-related advertising and sponsorships was “not necessarily the right answer”.

€2.6 Million Compensation

Worldwide, gambling has become a popular activity for millions of people. Whether it’s going online or gambling on a smartphone, the advances of the modern age have made it easier for gamblers to place a bet.

Yet, this also makes it harder to spot a problem gambler. Various jurisdictions are taking steps to tackle the problem, for instance, through the banning of gambling adverts or the removal of fairytale games on gambling websites. But more still needs to be done.

This week, it was reported that a gambling addict was awarded €2.6m ($2.98m; £2.30m) in compensation after an Austrian court found that the claimant was “partially incapacitated” by his addiction, rendering his bets void. According to the report, that complainant had spent around €2m ($2.3m; £1.77m) between 2002 and 2012.

In what may be considered a landmark ruling, it could eventually mean more cases being brought forward against gaming companies.